Year Of Release: 1982
Studio: Sun Electronics/Atari
Anyone who is a fan of video games will know that Donkey Kong was one of the games if not the game responsible for the plat forming craze. After Donkey Kong many other games would come and try in a way to emulate what Donkey Kong did. Some were pretty forgettable, but some games like Kangaroo here were actually pretty good and while clearly being inspired by Donkey Kong. It has enough charm and is fun enough to play that it developed something of a cult following all of its own over the years.
Kangaroo has a pretty nice looking arcade cabinet. Its controls are pretty standard for 1982, with a 8 way joystick and one action button (or a punch button in Kangaroo’s case) but the art work on the side of the cabinet was pretty amazing. It was a game that certainly would capture a child’s eye in the arcades back in 1982 thanks to its cartoon side art and its charming and well-designed graphics as well. Many games in the early 80’s would try to attract gamers with their side art on the cabinet and their marquee as well and this is certainly a game that tried to do this. Much like Donkey Kong though, Kangaroo was a very tough game and to get a high score was really challenging so while its art may have attracted kids. It was the hard core and skilled gamers who would be hooked by the game.
The game play of Kangaroo sees you playing the role of Mama Kangaroo who needs to rescue her baby who has been kidnapped by monkeys. The moneys will attack you by throwing apples at you or by advancing on you. By hitting the punch button you can put them in their place. The game is very similar to Donkey Kong in that there are four screens. Each of which see you starting at the bottom and needing to work your way up the platforms. Kangaroo though is much more platform based in that there are more jumps you need to make here than in Donkey Kong. As well as jumping though there are ladders that can help you get to the top of each tree and save your son. In all it’s a pretty fun and action packed game that does keep you on your toes when you play it. To really get a high score you need to defeat as many monkeys as possible and grab the fruit that is scattered around the levels.
Current High Score: 921,800 by David Kirk
Kangaroo was ported to many systems with the Atari 2600 perhaps the most notable. There was a superior version on the Atari 5200, but it’s the 2600 version most people seem to remember. While clearly the Atari 2600 version took a huge hit in the graphics it was still fun to play and did in game play terms replicate the arcade version fairly well.
Kangaroo was popular enough that it even got a Saturday morning cartoon! In America the CBS's Saturday Supercade had cartoons of hit games such as Frogger, Donkey Kong and Pitfall. But in 1984 they were replaced by Kangaroo along with Space Ace. The fact that they turned it into a cartoon tells you it was a popular game.